11.13.2006

maladies interpreted

I recently read a book that spoke so fluently on the experience of love and loneliness that I can't bear not sharing.

Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies is a collection of short stories about Indian immigrants in various locations and life situations. Homesickness, despair, miscarriage, divorce, arranged marriage, and affairs are woven together under the auspices of a fresh homemade samosa and warm tea.

I am neither an immigrant (surprise) or Indian (bigger surprise), but the stories of the characters spilled off the pages into my heart reminding of times of my own despair and my own maladies. They taught me about the experiences of those that live around me and among me. Many of my neighbors have immigrated from India; their names are virtually unpronounceable and their daughters more beautiful than the sun itself.

Lahiri effortlessly gives the reader an expressive understanding into each moment. Much like life often leaves us deep in thought pondering what could have been, I found myself reaching into the story hoping to make it better, hoping to befriend the lonely, hoping to shake some sense in the wandering lover, hoping to interpret the maladies of the afflicted.

I loved this book. My only complaint is that she only has one other novel. Write on, Lahiri. I'm reading.

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